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Are we really no better than this?

October 29, 2017 Leave a comment

It’s been less than a month, and as a nation we’ve already forgotten. It’s just another Wikipedia entry now….a future trivia question. Perhaps the subject of an upcoming book or two……maybe a network news magazine segment during sweeps week.

Fifty eight people killed. Well over 500 injured. By another pissed off white dude with guns. Motives unclear……but “white and pissed off” will do until something that makes more sense comes along. Welcome to making America great again.

ct-las-vegas-shooter-brain-20171029-001In the immediate aftermath we once again swore that this time, something, anything, would be done. The usual suspects said the usual things….the same talking points were trotted out. Conservatives offered so many”thoughts and prayers” than God finally told them to cut it out. Liberals scoffed at deity references and vowed to take on the NRA this time……campaign contributions be damned.

Of course all of this was happening when the cameras were rolling. Politicians love nothing better than the timbre of their own bullshit, and the opportunity to score cheap partisan points while riling up their respective bases. Essentially, half the country ended up arguing with the other half via facebook comments and on Twitter…..sometimes even managing to do so without misspelling every other word. Trump ended up providing the leadership we’ve come to expect, tweeting about kneeling black football players and throwing paper towels at thirst ravaged Puerto Ricans. Absolutely nothing changed. So we’re right back to where we were, awaiting yet another unknown dotard with an arsenal to start spraying bullets in a crowd, or in a classroom. And when that happens, the cycle will start anew.

Cue the hand-wringing.

Are we really no better than this? Do we value human life only within the brutal rhythms of the 24 hour news cycle? I’m continuously staggered by our lack of collective memory….by the seeming randomness of our empathy.

Reporter Carl Bernstein says our nation is in the midst of a “cold Civil War”…a phrase I initially rolled my eyes over but soon wished I coined myself.

As a nation we’re racist and sexist and homophobic. In a pinch we’re also astoundingly generous and progressive. The stupid shit we say is not always mirrored by our actions, and the stupid shit we do is not always mirrored by our internal beliefs.

We elected as President a man who is wholly supported by American Nazis. If you don’t believe me, just ask them. If we elect a man who is supported by racists, does that make him a racist? Does that make us racists? Is it even possible to have this type of discussion nowadays?

We stare into the face of scientific evidence and reject it. We accept as truth any lies that buttress our own beliefs. The truth itself has become largely irrelevant. In a cold war we feel entitled to our own version of the truth.

It already feels that Las Vegas was part of some alternative universe. Something that happened a long time ago….that we can barely remember. Except for the families and friends of the dead and wounded….it may as well have not happened at all.

In a bit..

–tf

 

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Today was like an unrelenting, cold rain…

October 2, 2017 1 comment

Today was like an unrelenting, cold rain.

Reported-Shooting-At-Mandalay-Bay-In-Las-Vegas.jpeg.CROP.promo-xlarge2We woke up to the news of yet another mass shooting…..the body count growing steadily as the day progressed. Twenty. 40, 50. At the time I’m writing this, it’s 59 dead. An additional 527 are injured. Both numbers will probably grow. Another pissed off white dude (imagine the Trumpsters if this dude had been black or brown?) with an apparently legal arms cache….this time positioning himself high above the crowd, shooting down into them like fish in a barrel. I won’t bore you with the gun control argument, since this nation watched little children get slaughtered like hogs at Sandy Hook and did nothing. We’ll bicker for a few days on social media and then forget all about Vegas, until somebody else takes on the grisly arithmetic. Trump stopped golfing long enough to bafflingly offer his “warmest condolences” to the families of murder victims. Who says such stupid shit? The man must have been home nursing his Vietnam era heel spurs when they taught empathy at school.

We debate guns when the murdered bodies are still warm. We debate climate change after the hurricanes crash through and we’re picking through the rubble. We offer each other umbrellas when the rain stops. We have the attention span of our President. And of course, we offer a multitude of “thoughts and prayers”, inane gibberish in the face of horrors we’re not brave enough to tackle with actual substance. We do the same things. over and over again, and expect different results. That’s the exact definition of insanity.

It’s disgraceful, but welcome to America, where our politicians are bought and sold like….well…like guns. Washington DC is collectively desperate to avoid being put over Wayne LaPierre’s knee and spanked like misbehaving children. The place is filled with moral degenerates. Fuck them. And fuck the NRA too. They’re no better than ISIS.

Kneeling is unpatriotic. Hoarding enough guns to start a revolution gives the founding fathers a collective red white and blue chubby.

And shame on us. Collectively. We allow it to happen. Over and over. And we elect the same dishonest shitheads, over and over. A nation deserves its elected government. Liberals screech but do nothing, afraid of being mocked by Ted Nugent. Republicans call for MORE guns, afraid of being mocked by Ted Nugent. And the blood money flows into the coffers of both parties. Pay no attention to the man with the automatic weapons behind the curtain.

I’m not sure where we go from here. We can’t slither much lower without digging a trough around ourselves. We literally watch each other get riddled with gunfire and turn the channel. And Puerto Rico? Since we can only handle a single blaring headline at a time, they might have power again in time for the Los Angeles summer Olympic games. Geraldo and Anderson Cooper have left the building….on their way to warmer bodies. Gotta feed the beast bubba.

pettyIn the midst of trying to digest all of this, word starting leaking this afternoon. Tom Petty. Rumors. Cardiac arrest. Life support. What? Everybody ran towards Google. Hoping for a hoax. For fake news. Even the losers get lucky sometimes. But no…..he’s gone. My head is spinning….my heart is colder than it was yesterday. Somebody at work said to me…”how you you make a horrible day even worse? Tell me Tom Petty died..”

I was 13 when “Damn the Torpedoes” was released….my twin brother already had Petty’s first two records. I remember “I Need to Know” blasting out of our basement. But DtT was the rocket fuel. I would listen to (at the time) FM107 to hear “Refugee” and “Don’t Do Me Like That” (always with Pink Floyd tossed in the mix, since “The Wall” was released at the same time…weird the things you remember)….great songs that somehow sounded HUGE on little car radios. Instantly memorable. Perfectly crafted. Glorious noise. And that voice….like some mutant offspring of Dylan and Roger McGuinn. And his secret weapon, guitarist Mike Campbell….a guy good enough to play with ANYBODY…..but who chose to remain a sideman in the Heartbreakers for 40 years. Because if Petty wasn’t the best songwriter and bandleader in America, nobody could come up with anybody better. He was as consistent as the changing seasons, a man for whom “greatest hits” sounded superfluous, so iconic was his catalog. He was so good for so long that we took him for granted. A song like “Free Fallin'” might be the most perfect pop song ever written. It will be on the radio for the next 50 years.

When I listened to Tom Petty I was always lifted. I’m trying to come up with a better way of saying that, but I can’t. The last gig my band played we kicked off the show with “You Wreck Me”. My god…..I felt like I was levitating.

I want to sleep, and wake up to no more dead.

In a bit…

–tf

 

Categories: Uncategorized